Telemark World Cup starts Sunday in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Telemark World Cup starts Sunday in Steamboat

Steamboat Ski Area, Howelsen Hill to host racers from 11 nations

Margaret Hair

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Telemark skier Zoe Taylor takes a training run Friday at Steamboat Ski Area.

— Fifty-three skiers from 11 countries will compete in a Telemark World Cup event in Steamboat Springs next week.

The event gets going with training today. An opening ceremony is at 7 p.m. today at Howelsen Hill, U.S. Telemark Team skier and coach Shane Anderson said.

Sprint races are Sunday and Tuesday at Howelsen Hill, and a giant slalom race is Monday on Sitz/See Me at Steamboat Ski Area. Each event will have two sets of runs. The World Cup event continues Thursday, with a second, four-day leg of racing at Keystone.

U.S. Telemark Team racer and Steamboat teenager Lorin Paley describes Sunday's sprint course as "one of the most intense sprints on the World Cup."

"People jump bigger and crash bigger in Telemark than in any sport, so it's going to be a fun one to watch," Paley said.

Out of the start gate, racers go through eight to 10 gates before hitting a jump, where they'll need to cross a set distance line, Anderson said. Off the jump, skiers go through another slightly smaller set of gates before they hit a banked, 360-degree turn toward the bottom of the hill. That turn slows the racer down enough to skate to the finish line.

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On a good run, the whole thing takes 50 to 60 seconds, Anderson said. With 53 racers starting about 45 seconds apart, each set of runs is expected to last less than an hour, he said.

Steamboat skiers make up a good portion of the race field. Lorin Paley, Ben Paley, Shane Anderson and Charlie Dresen hold spots on the U.S. Telemark A team. Erika Walters, Jeffrey Gay and Ken Rec­ker are on the B team, and Elizabeth Kl­­em­­er and Madi Mc­­Kinstry are on the development team.

With a range of ages represented, the Steamboat group boasts strong younger skiers, as well as some competitors with deep experience, Ander­­son said.

Dresen, 46, is

among the experienced set. About 22 years older than the average age on the U.S. Telemark Team, Dresen is back on the national World Cup circuit after a several-year hiatus.

"Quite frankly, I don't know how I do it — I'm 46, but I still act like I'm 30," Dresen said. "I think a lot of that is just the passion. … Because it's so diverse and so difficult, it's extremely challenging. Every year, the sport evolves and changes, and I keep evolving and changing with it, and fortunately my body is allowing me to do it and keep up."

Dresen, who also coaches for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, said he hopes for top-15 finishes.

The Winter Sports Club, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and the city of Steamboat Springs are presenting the Telemark World Cup event.

World Cup schedule

■ Sunday

10:30 a.m.: Sprint classic race, first run, Howelsen Hill

1 p.m.: Sprint classic race, second run, Howelsen Hill

■ Monday

10 a.m.: Telemark giant slalom, first run, Sitz/See Me at Steamboat Ski Area

12:45 p.m.: Telemark giant slalom, second run, Steamboat Ski Area

■ Tuesday

10:30 a.m.: Sprint classic race, first run, Howelsen Hill

1 p.m.: Sprint classic race, second run, Howelsen Hill